Sunday, November 11, 2007

In the small stuff

Right now it's pretty hard to see exactly what I'm doing. If you walked into the room right now and asked me "what are you doing?" you'd be just as baffled.

What you see is a railroad car I'm working on. As you might recall, I'm modeling the Murphy Branch circa 1942. To top that off I'm modeling it in N scale. 1/160.

On the Murphy Branch I have found no instances that the Southern Railway EVER ran a Pennsylvania 85 foot long heavyweight Railway Post Office Car. The only commercially available car is the Pennsylvania car though the manufacturer has slapped on other railroad paint schemes including the Southern Railway. So I looked at as many pictures of passenger cars in the 1940's on the Murphy Branch. That didn't take too long since there are not lots of photographs.

I then downloaded shop drawings that have been scanned my another one of my fellow "rivet counters" and went through those comparing and contrasting drawings to photographs. I've come to my own conclusion that the RPO on the Murphy was a 61 foot RPO probably built by the American Car and Foundry company in maybe 1937.

Note I said sixty one feet. I have one of the incorrect 85 foot cars.

So I've been cutting out sections and cutting off the ends and opening doors to the correct size and filling windows. In other words, I've been butchering a perfectly good railroad car. What you see is the car as it slowly changes. From the left that first white square is a window I'm filling in. Next is a new door I've cut in. Then you can see all of the other windows I'm filling in. Then we get to the baggage door. I've cut the baggage door OPEN!

Why do I want that door open? One of the photographs I found shows it open and a man sitting in the doorway. I guess I'll have to find a seated man sometime.

The roof has changes to be made including being shortened in such a way that the vents are in the right locations. The real "terror" so far is not losing details. Those windows when they are filled in will have to be REALLY sanded smooth. The problem is the detail in the seams and rivets that are there already. I don't want to lose that. So I've been using a filler. Then I've been cutting LITTLE sections of nail buffing pads. When I say little I mean around 1/8 inch or less square. Those are fastened to the end of rods and then I have to sand VERY carefully.

I can only do this in little stretches of time. If I work too long I start getting a bit reckless.

When I'm through I hope I'll have a fairly good representation of a Southern Railway 61 foot RPO. Of course most visitors won't know the pains I went to. I'm just hoping to find someone or some documentation to show the ACTUAL number of the RPO assigned to the Murphy Branch. I'm also wondering whether they ever used the mail sack catcher that was on the door. I'll be modeling that BUT not as a working arm. I'll only go so far.